Parson: Missouri distributes 66,000-plus vaccine doses in December

State expects all initial doses to be done by mid-January
Posted at 2:20 PM, Dec 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-30 15:20:32-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In the first few weeks of COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Missouri, more than 66,000 frontline health care workers and long-term care facility residents and staff have received an initial dose, according to Gov. Mike Parson.

In December, the state received 314,000 doses, a number that includes both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Department of Health and Senior Services, attributed the "lag" between the number of doses received and those administered to the fact that CVS and Walgreens only began vaccinations at long-term care facilities this week.

Williams said that 50% of the state’s vaccine doses have gone to CVS and Walgreens to distribute. The federal government ships those vaccine doses directly to the pharmacies as part of Missouri's allotment of the Moderna vaccine.

Williams said the two companies have "robustly" begun their rollout in the state.

“We’re just incredibly thankful for that,” Williams said. “It’s just a joyous occasion to be able to deliver vaccines to those people who are most vulnerable.”

Facilities across the state will receive another 84,000 initial vaccine doses by the end of this week, with 73,000 more doses expected to arrive next week, Parson said.

Also next week, the state will begin receiving shipments of second doses of the Pfizer vaccine, for those who already received the initial dose earlier this month.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are being given in two doses for maximum effectiveness. Parson called it “extremely important” for anyone who received an initial dose to also receive the second dose.

Williams estimated that by mid-January, all of the state’s initial vaccine doses should be administered.

With the vaccine providing some hope at the end of an unprecedented year, Parson urged Missourians to continue mitigation efforts, including mask wearing, social distancing and minimizing travel.

“Although we are still experiencing high volume of cases, our data shows that Missouri’s cases and hospitalizations are stabilizing,” Parson said. "With that said, this fight is not over, and prevention remains one of the best weapons we have against COVID-19. We must continue the social distancing. We must wear a mask, minimize travel and avoid large gatherings. These actions combined with the vaccine will get us through this.”

Also Wednesday, Parson provided an update on the state’s partnership with Vizient, a national health care performance company contracting with hospitals across the state.

Parson said the company has contracted 196 staff to six hospitals in the state. Among those, 24 began work on Monday, with the rest expected to begin in the “coming days and into the new year.”

Parson initially said that 12 hospitals would take part in the partnership and that as many as 760 health care workers could come to Missouri.